Program Details

Master of Science in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems

Offered By: College of Nursing and Health Care Professions
Total Program Credits & Course Length:
Total Program Credits: 36
Online: 8 weeks [ More Info ]
Transfer Credits:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the program
Program Tuition Rate:
Online: $500 per credit. [ More Info ]
VA Approved Program Icon


Lead the Nursing Industry

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems prepares nurses for leadership roles in today's rapidly changing healthcare delivery systems. The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions offers this program for BSN-prepared registered nurses who want to advance their career and move into a management role. Coursework is conveniently offered online and in evening teaching formats.

The masters in nursing leadership consists of graduate nursing core courses. You gain the knowledge, values and skills needed for advanced generalist practice in an evolving healthcare system. The program focuses on the critical analysis of nursing and healthcare research as well as ethics, management, policy and finance in healthcare.

This masters in nursing leadership program includes both a practicum and a capstone class. The practicum promotes the application of knowledge and skills learned in earlier courses in the curriculum. The MSN leadership program concludes with an evidence-based capstone project that addresses a challenge in professional practice. You identify the issue, research it, develop a plan to improve the issue and implement the solution. The issue or gap should be relevant to nursing leadership.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master's degree in nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Select states may have additional requirements to meet their standards; reference your enrollment agreement or contact GCU for more information.

Degree Outcomes

Advance Your Skills as a Nurse Leader

The masters in nursing leadership develops bachelor’s-prepared nurses to effectively lead people and manage resources to achieve organizational goals. You have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare environment; the communication and interpersonal skills necessary to maintain ethical and professional standards; and business skills to manage healthcare quality and reducing cost.

The leadership portion of the MSN degree program provides an overview of leadership styles, how organizations function and emphasizing the communication skills required to establish and maintain effective relationships. Leadership topics include servant leadership and business leadership models and theories.

What You Will Learn

Focus on Nursing Management

Among the topics you examine are:

  • Critical analysis of research related to healthcare and nursing, and how it applies to education, practice and delivery of care
  • Business and leadership models examined from a variety of viewpoints, with special attention paid to improving leadership in healthcare organizations
  • Supervised practicum to apply knowledge from coursework into real-life nursing settings
  • The behavioral forces that influence organizational effectiveness and change

Career Outcomes

Prepare to Direct Nursing Services

Graduates of the masters in nursing leadership program may seek positions such as a charge nurse, director of nursing, chief nursing officer or a vice president of nursing services. With a focus on nursing leadership in healthcare systems, this program prepares you to lead and manage a team of healthcare providers, specifically including areas of managing a budget, staffing challenges and constraints, conflict resolution and change management.

Program Domains

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
36 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
36 credits

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course examines nursing as a profession and a discipline and the individual nurse's role as a member of the profession. The theoretical foundations for nursing practice and roles are explored and applied. Emphasis is placed on developing scholarly writing and presentation skills. Critical thinking skills are refined as students discuss and synthesize the literature that guides nursing practice with a special emphasis on caring, diversity, and spirituality.

Course Description

This course focuses on the critical analysis of nursing and health care research and its application to nursing education, nursing practice, and the delivery of health care services. Emphasis is placed on strategies to access current and relevant data, synthesize the information, and translate new knowledge to practice. Ethical issues in the design and conduct of research are addressed. Prerequisite: NUR-502.

Course Description

This course utilizes health care policy as a framework to analyze how health is defined and health care is designed and delivered in the United States and around the world. Emphasis is placed on issues of cost, quality, access, disparities, and finance. The various roles of the master's prepared nurse in the health care system are explored. Prerequisite: NUR-504.

Course Description

This course explores the nature of business leadership models and theories, examines these models through a broad variety of insights and viewpoints, and provides a description and analysis of these approaches to leadership, giving special attention to how the models can improve leadership in real-world organizations.

Course Description

This course is an exploration of the behavioral forces and relationships that influence organizational effectiveness and change. Topics include the study of intervention strategy and application skills.

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare leaders for the cross-functional complexities inherent in organizational life. Students develop an advanced skill set enabling effective leadership in each of the major organizational functions (marketing, finance, human resource management, information systems, and operations management). The course explores methods of evaluating alternatives to make effective decisions.

Course Description

This course focuses on servant leadership, how a servant leader is different from other leaders, and how focusing on the needs of others can create interdependency rather than dependency in organizations.

Course Description

This course promotes the synthesis and application of knowledge and skills from the nursing core course and the leadership courses. Students identify a mentor and develop a relationship through which they examine the connection between theory and practice. Students engage in leadership activities (e.g., committees, projects, staff education, and quality improvement) and, through reflection and writing, analyze and evaluate leadership behaviors and processes. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Prerequisites: LDR-600, LDR-615, and LDR-620.

Course Description

This course provides an opportunity for students to develop an evidence-based practice project proposal that addresses a problem, issue, or concern in professional practice. Students identify a problem amenable to research-based intervention; search literature; propose a solution; and develop a plan to implement the solution, evaluate its outcome(s), and disseminate the findings. Problems identified are those that are appropriate to students' specialty tracks: nursing leadership, nursing education, nursing public health, adult clinical nurse specialist, acute care nurse practitioner, and family nurse practitioner. Prerequisite: NUR-508.

Program Locations



Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program's published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution's catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length.

Online and Evening program disclosures (21 months)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.